Oscar Piastri is aiming to eliminate mistakes in the final 10 races of the 2023 F1 once the season resumes at the end of the month.
The Australian has marked himself out as a star of the future following a strong start to his F1 career though offered a harsh appraisal of his own performances.
Speaking with Speedcafe, Piastri gave himself just a ‘B’ for the opening 12 races of the season, reasoning he’s made too many mistakes.
Heading into the year, his stated focus was to allow himself time to learn the sport and blow off some of the cobwebs after a year out of competition.
“I think it’s the same; try and continue to build on getting quicker,” Piastri told Speedcafe of his aims for the second half of the season, “having complete races and just eliminating some of those mistakes.
“I’m obviously able to get quite close to Lando [Norris] in most sessions, but I want to be able to take that next step and really be able to challenge him.
“I want to try and continue to improve myself.
“I’m happy with the level I’m at but I feel like there still can be more, so just getting the most out of that.”
McLaren is also happy with how Piastri is performing, suggesting his development is in line with his expected growth during the year.
Team principal Andrea Stella has been especially complimentary of the young Aussie, though tempers that with the fact his results have improved as the car’s potential has.
There is no overt pressure, however, with Stella allowing Piastri the time to develop naturally, something the 22-year-old is focussed on doing.
“The biggest challenge is just how to get the most out of the races,” he said when asked what had surprised him most about F1.
“With the amount of practice we get, and just as drivers, I feel like we have enough time during the weekend to be able to perform over one lap, but over a race, you never really get to practice that situation.
“In practice, you always get a few sets of soft tyres where you do a qualifying sim, and you can do it a few times to get a bit of practice.
“With the race, you do a high fuel run and it’s maybe 10 laps or so. Then you go and do another 40 more in the race in different conditions with a track more rubbered in you’ve got cars around you, that’s the kind of stuff that you can’t practice.
“That’s definitely the part that takes the most getting used to and that’s by far been the biggest learning experience.”
That will take time to perfect, with Piastri having to balance the need to push with that of conserving fuel and tyre life, the latter being especially critical given the Pirelli rubber’s propensity to overheat.
Add into the mix F1’s hybrid systems and the nuances of how to use the system in both defence and attack, and it’s a lot for a rookie to take on.
” I knew that was going to be the case when I came in, so that’s been not so much a surprise,” he asserted.
“The biggest learning curve, because there’s not that much you can actually do to practice it or you can prepare yourself with all the management side of things and strategy side of things.
“You can’t emulate some of the things that happen in the race without actually just getting races on your belt.”
It’s why racing laps are key in the second half of the year.
“Just have clean races where I feel like I’ve come out of the race, firstly learning some things but secondly, making sure that if I am learning things, they’re always new, and not sort of having to re-learn the same thing too many times, or will go through the same processes,” he said.
“I think that’s all irrespective of where we are as a team in terms of car performance.
“Of course, if we’re in a position like we’re in Silverstone, I might dare to dream of some trophies, or at least one, but we’ll see.
“I just want to make sure that I come out of every weekend learning as much as I can, and feeling like I’m getting the most out of what I can do.”